For the first time since this election started, John McCain granted gay press a bit of access into his campaign. And we do mean “a bit.”

Rather than sitting down with the Washington Blade, McCain responded in writing to questions penned by publisher William Kapfer, which explains how McCain could so readily recall his words at the funeral of Mark Bingham, a gay man who helped thwart the Flight 95 attack on September 11th.

McCain did make some good points – we need to do more about HIV/AIDS here in the United States while also reaching across the seas – but sidestepped many of Kapfer’s inquiries. For example, when asked whether he would appoint anti-gay Judges or other officials, McCain replied, “I will nominate judges who interpret the Constitution, not judges who legislate from the bench. Legislators pass laws; judges interpret them. Unfortunately, too many judges have become confused [about] their role.” Later, Kapfer asked McCain what he thinks about organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, which prohibits gay leaders. Again, McCain offered a lackluster reply, “I don’t believe that’s an issue for the President to deal with. I supported the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dale case. The Boy Scouts are an important institution in our society and they should decide this issue on their own.” The Dale case involved a New Jersey gay man who sued the Scouts after they booted him. The Supreme Court rules the Scouts had the right to determine their own membership criteria.

Perhaps the most interesting exchange revolved around the matter of gay adoptions. McCain has previously spoken out against same-sex couples rearing a child. Despite an outcry from gay folk, McCain’s ideas haven’t evolved. He still thinks a man and a woman provide the most stable environment and defers to the question to the GOP’s favorite fall-back: federalism.

Blade: Regarding adoption by same-sex couples, you have been quoted as saying you don’t believe it’s appropriate. Can you elaborate?

McCain: I hope my comments are not misinterpreted. I respect the hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian people who are doing their best to raise the children they have adopted. As someone who adopted a child, Cindy and I know better than most couples the amazing satisfaction that comes from providing love to an unwanted child. I believe a child is best raised by a mother and father because of the unique contributions that they make together to the development of a child.

At the end of the day, this isn’t an issue the president deals with. I’m a federalist, and this is an issue reserved to the states in our system of government.

Kapfer also asks McCain what progress gay Americans can hope for by the year 2009. Here’s what the candidate says: “My advice to all Americans is that it is time we came together to work in a bipartisan fashion to find real solutions to the challenges facing our country. I will be the President for all Americans – and will challenge every American to work with me to put our country first.” What about people’s rights? And, you know, equality? Feh.

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